By Jonathan McCambridge, PA
Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has met with the mayors of Manchester and Liverpool as part of an initiative to strengthen trade and innovation links.
The meeting in Dublin with Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram agreed to further develop the partnership between Ireland and the cities.
The meeting was part of a joint mission to Ireland led by the two mayors, involving business delegations and civic leaders, which is backed by the UK Department of International Trade.
Mr Coveney said: “The development of our partnership with the north of England is a key part of Ireland’s strategy for strengthening relations with Great Britain post-Brexit.
“We have unique heritage and community ties right across the north of England and there is great potential for Irish firms to develop partnerships with the dynamic northern powerhouse region.
“Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram worked with me on the opening of our Consulate General for the north of England last year and this week’s mission is another important step forward.”
Mr Rotheram said: “Andy and I arrived here with the ambition to lay the foundations to ensure that the latest chapter in our long shared history is a prosperous one. All the conversations we have had so far this week indicate that this feeling is very much mutual.
“The north-west has enjoyed a long, successful trading partnership with Ireland.
“Looking to the future, we share many of the same aims in things like renewable energy, innovation, trade, and manufacturing.
“There is still so much potential to unlock, and we want Ireland to be near the front of that queue.”
Mr Burnham said: “Minister Coveney shares our determination to deepen collaboration and cooperation between our places and this agreement will help us to take that next step forward.”